Written by Judd Apatow and Steve Carell
Directed by Judd Apatow
Starring Steve Carell, Catherine Keener, Paul Rudd, Romany Malco, Seth Rogen
- Seventeen additional minutes cut from theatrical release
- Running audio commentary by Apatow, Carell and pretty much the whole cast
- Deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary by Apatow and Rogen
- Gag reel
- Two featurettes: “My Dinner with Stormy” and “Waxing Doc”
Released by: Universal Home Video.
My Advice: Rent it.
[ad#longpost]Every workplace has that one employee. You know what I mean: the guy who’s mostly harmless, but is a bit of a loner, is socially challenged, and gives off a weird vibe. Andy (Carrell) is SmartTech’s “one employee”. He rides a bicycle in L.A., is rather shy, and doesn’t have much of a social life. Still, his co-workers, David (Rudd), Jay (Malco), and Cal (Rogen), need another body for their poker game and Andy fits the bill. However, when the customary bullshit session at the game turns to sex, Andy seems clueless on the subject. Realization hits when the group figures out they are in the presence of The 40-Year-Old Virgin. The guys want to rectify his situation by taking Andy out and about and flood him with advice. However, Andy is reluctant and nervous and the attempts the gang make, from hooking him up with a drunk girl to procuring a hooker for Andy, fail miserably. Meanwhile, Andy meets Trish (Keener), a nice charming woman who seems to like Andy. Andy likes her as well but is nervous that his sexual purity will mess the relationship up. So Andy tries to navigate the treacherous terrain of love and sex which will be especially difficult for him since this is virgin territory. Literally.
I had some mixed emotions watching this. First off, I was irritated with the movie continuing the myth that everyone needs to have sex to be normal. “What?” I hear you say. Needcoffee’s Minister of Naughty Bits is complaining about a movie advocating sex? Let me explain. Having sexual freedom also means you have the freedom not to have sex. Now the sexless lifestyle might be due to a medical or psychological condition–and those people do need some form of help. However, some people are just not into sex and that’s fine. Pressuring people into having sex if it’s not their thing is just as bad as pressuring people not to have sex when they what to.
And another thing, I am sick and tired of people equating geekiness with the virginal loser. I understand that the filmmakers wanted to show that Andy’s sexual energy was directed into other areas, but why did they have to pick collecting action figures, miniature painting, and video games? We all know that there are plenty of the stereotypical geeks who live in their mother’s basement, but I personally know plenty of “geeks” who make The Beast with Two Backs. Even some of Needcoffee’s staff are married and enjoy marital relations on a regular basis. Resorting to that cheap clichÃ© is just plain lazy.
However, the movie also does the unexpected. During Andy’s “education,” he flirts successfully with a young girl at a bookstore. Now conventional wisdom would make her the main love interest. But Andy wants to end up with the more age-appropriate Trish. Of course, I have no problem with the May-December relationship in real life (well except for my mother and her asshole husband, but that’s another story), but how many movies have a male star in his 60s end up with a female star in her 20s? It’s become less about portraying realistic relationships and more about Hollywood execs living out some weird wish fulfillment fantasy on film.
In the end, though, the movie tells us that it’s about having someone in your life, not necessarily having someone in your bed. Andy starts coming out his shell not because of a woman, but because he finds friends. Now, is the movie actually funny? If you like your humor on the vulgar side and think seeing someone get their chest hair ripped off amusing, you’ll laugh at this movie. I admit I was appalled at some of the movie’s antics, but I did laugh as well. And you have to give the filmmakers credit for giving us on of the more unusual endings to a movie I’ve ever seen. You have to see it to believe it.
Now on to the DVD extras. Something I learned from the commentary for the deleted and longer versions of scenes is that a great deal of material in the film was improvised. My respect for this movie went up a notch. First off, improv is not easy. Sometimes the direction you go isn’t all that funny or the wrong kind of funny for the scene. Second, can you imagine the amount of film they went through to get everything then have to edit all that? Actually that’s one of the things they talk about in the audio commentary. They went through over one million feet of film.
The commentary is actually entertaining with the cast recalling how much fun they had coming up with some of the weird shit that ended up in the film. There is a small featurette about how they did the infamous waxing scene…which was 100% real. And there’s another featurette where Seth Rogen has an interesting dinner with porn star Stormy Daniels, who had a small cameo in the film. So with plenty of features and an entertaining movie, The 40-Year-Old Virgin is worth a rental.